John Mock, lecturer in Hindi and Urdu, has received a $32,000 grant from the Palo Alto-based Christensen Fund to support a folklorist who will help document the traditions of the people of Wakhan in Afghanistan. The folklorist will collaborate with Wakhi ethnographers to support local pride and enrich potential conservation and ecotourism activities. Mock's two-year grant is administered through the Cat Action Treasury web site of Cape Neddick, Maine.
The Christensen Fund web site has established its grant-making and other activities on the conviction that worldwide diversity--both cultural and biological--is extremely valuable and should be cared for. The Christensen Fund's executive director, Dr. Kenneth Wilson, is a member of the College Eight provost's council at UCSC. Erika Zavaleta, UCSC assistant professor of environmental studies, serves as the Christensen Fund's program consultant for landscape ecology and climate change adaptation.
Mock teaches all of the Hindi and Urdu classes at UCSC. He holds Ph.D. and M.A. degrees from UC Berkeley in South and Southeast Asian studies, specializing in South Asian languages and literature. Mock's expertise includes the languages and cultures of northern Pakistan and Afghanistan, and he speaks Urdu, Wakhi, Hindi, and Nepali, among other languages. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies and on the Executive Council of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies.